Aim and Duty; Sword and Shield: Analysing the Cause and Effects of the Malleability of 'Social Integration' in EU Law

Reynolds, S ORCID: 0000-0002-2735-6109
(2018) Aim and Duty; Sword and Shield: Analysing the Cause and Effects of the Malleability of 'Social Integration' in EU Law. European Papers, 3 (2). pp. 693-732.

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Abstract: Social integration is often depicted as a means of enhancing the Union’s legitimacy. Most recently, a reinvigorated “social Europe” has been back on the agenda following the United Kingdom’s Brexit vote. And yet, ironically, the EU citizenry often appears resistant to the very mechanisms that seek to make the Union about its people rather than the market. To explore this phenomenon, this Article conducts a much-need historical analysis of the concept of “social integration” within the EU legal order. The investigation identifies the operation of an economic/social dichotomy operating across European/national dividing lines, established by the Rome Treaty. As the market freedoms expanded, coming into ever-more frequent contact with domestic social policies, this dichotomy ultimately proved to be a myth. And yet, the legacy of the economic/social dichotomy has been not only to leave national social policymaking structurally disadvantaged when it clashes with the market freedoms but to constrain the Union’s capacity to offer social integration as a counter-balance to the deregulatory effects of the internal market at the supranational-level: European social policymaking is conceptualised as further interference with the traditionally national social sphere. Efforts to pursue social integration, instead, via the mechanisms of the internal market through Union citizenship have also been inherently limited by its market origins. Indeed, as the political winds have changed, “social integration” has been converted from a Union “aim” into an individual duty of economic activity in that context. This undermines the Union’s contemporary social aims, whilst doing little to address perceived Euroscepticism. Instead, a further model of social integration is needed; one which sees domestic and Union activities as jointly contributing to a shared constitutional social space and which is realised through a new method of adjudication that structurally recognises the significance of social goals in the present-day Union.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: social integration, social policy, single market, free movement, Union citizenship, Court of Justice
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 22 Aug 2018 09:00
Last Modified: 19 Jan 2023 01:26
DOI: 10.15166/2499-8249/252
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